The Greek referendum crisis resembles a marriage crisis. The “cheater” was punished years ago with long term austerity, hardship and humiliation. One day she decided she is fed up with the hardships and even though she really does not want a divorce, if he keeps punishing her like he has done for years, she will file for one. He now feels angry and humiliated at her rebellion which exposed fully his unforgiving character to all their common friends and – passive aggressively- remains silent and vague about their future together. The ball is in his court to decide whether he will finally forgive her or let her go.
This is of course an oversimplified analogy and it is common sense that countries and their representatives do not act emotionally or whimsically. But then again whoever experienced the Greek Referendum and had the chance to look closely at the OXI voters can easily see that this was a matter of heart and pride, an emotional explosion and outcome of years of built up frustration.
When you ask your people a question, they are likely to be honest about how they feel about it. Simple people have straightforward answers. And in the case of Greece, the vast majority of the OXI voters are young and belong to a new generation that opposes lots of things. They not only object to more unemployment, poverty and humiliation but they object to the Greek political and social status quo. They say NO to political corruption, nepotism, media monopolisation and the shameless manipulation of the public by the mainstream media. They say NO to lack of functional institutions and shady laws.
Young Greeks want to remain part of European Union but they fully realise that in order to truly be there they need to get rid of debris from the past. That was the NO of the new blood. And it was even more reinforced by the weakness and lack of respect of the YES campaign, carried out by discredited symbols of the old political world.
Germany should be thankful for the Greek “No”. It shows maturity and willingness to be European in the true sense of the word. It shows responsibility and desire to be treated like an equal, not a misbehaved kid. It shows commitment to carry out its responsibilities and to work hard towards economic development. It is the only moral stance on which an honest and productive relationship can be built.